After a year long preparation, WrestleMania came and went in a bright flash! The days blurred together as my friends and I zipped around town going to events and shows, and by the end of the week, I sat in a booth at an IHOP with friends and declared, “We’re not going next year!” It isn’t because I didn’t have fun! Fun couldn’t even begin to describe my first WrestleMania week. Euphoria? Punch Drunkenness? Achieving Nerdvana?! Here’s a mere sampling of my week of wrestling shows, fan conventions, and countless nights up past my bedtime.
I call upon the Power of Fandom to get me through Mania Week!
What to Pack Vlog
Going into WM33, I had rather grandiose plans to vlog, edit, and upload my experiences daily. Then, I started going to shows, getting minimal sleep, and lost myself in the melee of shows and events. This is a good thing. Trust me. With technology and social media, I’ve noticed that I am spending an increasing amount of time watching the world around me through the viewfinder and digital screen. So, there are times I tucked my smartphone away and simply reveled in the moment. Those who ran into me during the week could hear the
Nerd out with me on YouTube! KarenNerdsOut
Currently, I am still editing together my WrestleMania week vlog. You will notice a steep decline in my voice as the week progresses purely because I did what I did best, cheer my heart out!
When I was in my senior year of undergrad, I wrote about Lita and Chyna in my Women in Popular Culture course. Recently, I’ve toyed with the idea of a wrestling podcast to help alleviate the volume of wrestling-related content on my blog (and without launching a secondary blog). In the last 24 hours, I managed to happen upon an opportunity to submit an audition piece for a contributor’s position at a popular wrestling podcast group.
Catch me on SoundCloud at KarenNerdsOut1The primary objective was recapping the fall out of the WWE’s “Superstar Shake-up” (roster trades) between Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live, as well as the potential effects on NXT, focusing on the women’s rosters. With a limited time window, I gave myself a crash course in GarageBand, but thankfully it is similar to iMovie, which I’ve been using to slowly edit my vlogs. It was fun to write a script, map out my personal thoughts, and review the segments covering the women of the WWE in this last week. It felt great to experiment with a new medium, and depending on how things shake out, I’d like to continue it!
I am Unapologetic Fangirl
For those who cannot fathom wrestling as a fandom, I’m here to tell you that if you’ve ever loved a book, television series, film, video game, sports team, or even a fictional character, we are in the same boat. Wrestling has it’s own fan culture which extends far beyond WWE. During Mania Week, wrestling promotions held shows from Altamonte Springs down to Lakeland, carving a large swathe of migrating fans from all over the world. Think of it as taking The Super Bowl (or World Cup), Lalapalooza, and San Diego Comic Con, throwing them all in a blender and hitting frappe! There are costumes, meet and greets, discussion panels, parties, meet ups, friendships forged, and endless opportunities to buy merchandise.
Reunited with The Lass Kicker, Becky Lynch
I met Becky at and NXT house show in early 2015, roughly six months after I started watching NXT. From the start, she was my favorite out of both NXT and WWE main roster. Following her career closely, I cheered for her harder than any other because there are similar parallels between our lives. I knew that meeting one of my heroes could be exceptionally risky, but I remembered how genuine she was the first time around, and listening to her interviews with the Gorilla Position podcast with James Delow and Lilian Garcia’s Making Their Way to the Ring, made me appreciate the woman behind the character.
After six hours of waiting, excitement and exhaustion got me!
I actually wrote her a small fan letter because I had an inkling that I wouldn’t be able to say everything I wanted to say, as they barreled through over 300 fans during the signing. I had a blast in line with my friends, and even did a little shopping before meeting her, but no sooner did my turn in the queue get close, I started crying and all cameras were on me! I’m not ashamed of my fangirl feelings at all. I respect Becky as a performer. I adore her as a human being, and there is nothing wrong with that. When you want nothing but the best things for someone, don’t ever be afraid to show your genuine feelings. It’s hard to be brave, and even the most well-spoken person can be at a loss for words.
Somehow, I managed to be much cooler with ALL the other meet and greets throughout the week. Probably because I unloaded all the stress on Becky! I also had the pleasure of meeting Finn Balor, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Miz & Maryse, Alexa Bliss (and not a single tear or jittery nerve)!
A Tearful Farewell to Shinsuke Nakamura
For nearly a year, Shinsuke called Orlando home, and the NXT crowd his family. Like Becky, I saw him work house shows all over central Florida in the last year, desperately trying to not get emotionally attached because he wasn’t long for the NXT universe. After a hard hitting loss NXT TakeOver Orlando, everyone knew that his call up to the main roster was imminent. While I missed out on TakeOver Orlando, I ruined the remainder of my voice at the SmackDown After Mania (4/11/17) when he debuted. Seeing him finally graduate NXT and go to SD Live, brought a light misting to my eyes. However, it was the following night during the NXT tapings, when he came out in the middle of the show to give his final farewell, that once again, I was caught on film.
When you’re family, seeing someone achieve their dreams is amazing!
I met Shinsuke along with Asuka and The Revival at the UCF Men’s Basketball Season Opener when they collaborated with WWE to promote WrestleMania. I plucked up my courage to speak with both Asuka and Shinsuke in Japanese (which got a nice taunt out of The Revival). Talking with them about my time in Tottori, Japan, and commending them on how much they’ve progressed in learning English as their Second Language made me feel like a teacher again. So like every single year at graduation, I cried. I worked hard on that stiff upper lip, but like with Becky, I was in prime camera position with my friends. I’m so incredibly proud of him, and so happy I was able to be part of his proper send off. It was the perfect bookend to the start of Mania week, where I met Becky, and now they are together on SmackDown Live!
I had an absolutely incredible time during WrestleMania week, and this is only a fraction of the shenanigans I found myself embroiled within. Nearly two weeks later, I am still processing everything that happened!
Even after repeated protests that the gang wasn’t going to pack up the car and road trip to New Orleans next year for WrestleMania 34, less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the NXT taping on 4/5, our defenses crumbled and the war room negotiations started. Travel packages are slated to go on sale in late fall, so budgeting starts now!
Answer Me, These Questions Three!
- How do you plan for big ticket vacations?
- Have you ever attended a multi-day fan convention out of town?
- Do you feel that a vlogging/video channel should always have an accompanying audio channel with the same content?
I happened upon two of my favorite wrestling podcasters, Steve & Larson, after the Progress Show! They are totally rad, Gents!
- Yes, there is a secondary account @KarenNerdsOut, but the user handle is @Kahrenheit (taken from my previously blog). This was my old SoundCloud account to which I mistakenly uploaded my audition piece to late last night when I should have been asleep. To ensure that my entry was not invalidated, I have decided to leave a copy of it on both profiles for the time being.